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Teratology: Teratomas & Parasitic Twins (WARNING)

Okay, I got the nerve to see it. It's freaky, but not that uncommon. Theres an underdevelopment of the eyes and the big lips and mouth strike me as fish like. I've seen babies like these "born" in poverty stricken areas. Also, alcohol and drugs run rampant in those areas, so you get some really deformed babies around. Lucky for them, they are ussually not alive and the baby in the video doesn't seem to be alive. Poor kid. Things like this make me give thanks to God that my own baby is fine.
If anyone's interested......

I had a malignant testicular teratoma 15 years ago, although thankfully they didn't really go into the details of what a teratoma was at the time.....:eek!!!!:
Those poor, poor, poor little mites. I could only look at a few of those photos - both because they are horrendous, and because they make me feel angry that things like that can happen.

On a similar note (though perhaps this isn't the place to mention it), there was something on the local news last night about a woman called Joannae Jepson - she works in the church and is going to court to find out why the police didn't charge an abortion carried out after 24 weeks for a child who had a cleft palate. I don't know the rest of the ins and outs, but really, a cleft palate is fairly easy to fix and shouldn't deny a child its life: imagine what would happen if people in the West had children born without eyes, and deformities that deem them to be 'non-viable'? We think a cleft palate is bad.... sheesh.


Oh, and did anyone watch the programme about kidnapped child soldiers in Uganda? I never knew that was going on, and was wondering when anyone is going to offer some help for that situation (UN, where are you?). It was the first time I had ever seen what someone looks like when their lips, nose and ears have been cut off.
And here is Channel 4's info on the show:

The Boy Who Gave Birth to His Twin

Martin Brookes

December 2003

It must be quite something to discover you've been walking around all your life with your twin inside you. This is what happened to Alamjan Nematilaev, a seven-year-old boy from Kazakhstan. A strange feeling no doubt. Can we really think of Alamjan's twin as just that, a twin? Technically the answer is yes. A foetus in foetu, or baby within a baby, is a developmental hiccup that happens very rarely to identical twins. But the mistake comes so early in development that the twin inside never really had any chance of being a real live twin. Here we take a look at the pitfalls of embryonic development and reveal just what a rocky road it can be.

We know how difficult it can be travelling around sometimes: traffic, roadworks and a million other inconveniences often obstruct our smooth passage from A to B. But the next time you're stuck in a logjam on the M25, remember that you've already made it down the most difficult road of all. It was the first journey of your life, and it puts the worst bank holiday traffic in the shade.

The journey from egg to embryo is the most perilous trip that any of us will ever have to endure. The majority of human embryos never make it; they are lost along the way to an obstacle course of developmental wrong turns and genetic blunders. Only a lucky few survive to face the tight squeeze into the outside world.

The great journey

We all start life as a fertilised egg; a single cell tumbling down the oviduct of our mother. Heading down towards the uterus, the cell begins to divide and multiply. One cell becomes two cells, two cells become four, four become eight and so on. By the time it reaches the uterus, the nascent embryo is already a hundred cells strong. As it prepares for implantation into the uterus lining, the embryo's cells start to assume regional identities, organising themselves into layers of distinctive tissue. Already, the ground plan of placenta, skin and bone is taking shape.

As the embryo continues to grow, the sheets of tissue curl over at their edges, eventually joining up to form a cylinder of cells. The hollow tube at its centre is destined to become the baby's gut. By four weeks the embryo has a distinct head and tail, a heart and a basic nervous system. Everywhere, cells are diversifying into the disparate tissues that make up the body – blood, skin, muscles, nerves and bone. Some cells even commit suicide, dissolving away to bring limbs, fingers and toes into sharp relief. By eight weeks, the embryo resembles the form of a human being.

Embryonic puzzle

A simple description of these first few hectic weeks is one thing but understanding how it all works is something else altogether. Even today, embryonic development remains one of the biggest puzzles in biology. Studies in fruit flies, frogs and mice have provided some important and fascinating insights into the common threads that unite development in all higher animals, including ourselves. Yet, many secrets are left waiting to be revealed.

The basic puzzle of embryo development is one of information and organisation. How is the whole complex business of building a body controlled? How does each one of the embryo's cells 'know' what it should be doing? After all, each cell carries an identical genetic recipe; the same set of genetic instructions that first came together when the father's sperm fertilised the mother's egg. If every cell is genetically the same, how does a cell turn into a nerve cell, a muscle cell, a skin cell, or any of the other cell types? And what's more, what tells each cell its path and when to follow it? What makes a head develop on the end of a neck instead of between two legs? What makes a heart develop inside the body cavity instead of outside? And what makes a backside face backwards rather than forwards? These, and a million other questions, are the subjects of developmental debates.

One part of the puzzle has already been solved. In the 1960s, it was discovered that genes could be turned on and off like light switches. Although every cell in an embryo carries an identical set of genes, any one cell will only use a subset of the total. In other words, cells assume distinct identities simply by employing different batteries of active genes. Only the genes appropriate to a cell's function are switched on. Skin cells, for example, produce lots of keratin (a protein that gives strength and elasticity) where it is most needed – at the body's surface. So skin cells have their keratin gene switched on. But genes irrelevant to the skin's function (such as haemoglobin genes) remain switched off.

Although this can help to explain how genetically identical cells assume different identities, a deeper question still remains. What is turning the switches on and off in the first place? What is overseeing the design, organisation and planning of the embryonic building site?

Control genes

For the last 30 years, biologists have been struggling to identify the architects of embryonic development. In their search they have stumbled across a special class of genes whose sole function is to control suites of subordinate genes. These control genes work like molecular addresses, specifying the location of regions or structures within the developing embryo. For example, one gene might say 'eye'. In cells where this gene is active, a suite of subordinate genes swings into action as the cells become directed towards the formation of an eye. In practice, the developmental decision-making involves the hierarchical action of different sets of control genes. These combine in sequence to organise the progressive regionalisation of the body.

Developmental control genes were first found in flies, but they have since turned up in a whole host of animals, including ourselves. In fact, control genes seem to be remarkably similar across the animal kingdom. It's as if evolution found an effective way of building a body and then stuck firmly to it. These genes are so similar that you can remove a fruit fly control gene and replace it with the human equivalent and the fly will develop as normal.

To illustrate the importance of control genes in successful development, you only have to look at mutant fruit flies in which one or more of the genes have become damaged or defective. With the molecular address book thrown into confusion, the fruit fly body plan is literally turned upside down. Legs can end up on heads where the antennae are supposed to be, and eyes can sprout on the tips of legs. In one unfortunate mutant, the head disappears altogether, and is replaced by a second anus.

Though control genes are a major factor in the programmed pattern of embryonic development, they are clearly not the whole story. For at least in the first few days of its life, an embryo is still very much under its mother's control, relying on her chemical signals to see it through the first few rounds of cell division. Even though the embryo soon gains genetic autonomy, maternal influence extends throughout pregnancy. After all, a human embryo is nothing without its mother, and the placenta becomes a place of both sustenance and susceptibility.

Fraught business

The first two months are the most hectic time for a developing embryo, as it changes from a fertilised egg to a recognisable human form. Not surprisingly, it is during this period that the developmental schedule is most likely to go awry. Most human embryos die in their first eight weeks of life, often before the mother is even aware that she is pregnant. It has been estimated that as many as three quarters of all human embryos perish during this critical phase. It's an astonishingly high rate compared to other mammals, and the reason is unclear. But with development relying on the interaction of so many factors, it's no wonder things do go wrong.

And if the process is complicated with one embryo, imagine what it's like with two. Twins, especially identical ones, can throw an extra degree of unpredictability into the mix. Identical twins arise when a fertilised egg splits in two before it implants into the uterus. But again, there are a multitude of ways in which this can go askew. One twin, for example, may end up completely enclosed inside the other, resulting in the rare condition known as 'foetus in foetu'. Or the embryos may fail to separate completely, resulting in conjoined twins.

Given the many pitfalls that litter the developmental journey of an embryo, it may seem a miracle that any of us are here at all. But with six billion people living on Earth today, all who completed that journey, something must be working right.


Channel 4 is not responsible for the content of third party sites


The Boy with a Twin Inside
Article based on Alamjan Nematilaev who had an extremely rare condition called foetus in foetu. While the condition is well documented, doctors are unsure what causes it.

Conjoined Twins
Informative site offering detailed medical information on the different types and forms of conjoined twins. Includes high-quality images and video material of surgery conducted at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Joined: The world of Siamese twins
Channel 4 site that looks into the social and medical aspects of conjoined twins.

Singapore Science Centre
Interactive site that uses photographic images and models to show how a fertilised egg develops into a baby. A narration explains each stage and answers questions.

Vanishing Twin Syndrome
Medical explanation of the vanishing twin syndrome where initial scans show a multiple birth, but one of the foetuses subsequently vanishes.

The Visible Embryo
Provides a visual journey through each stage of human development from conception to birth with beautiful graphics. Also offers a detailed pictorial account of normal and abnormal development.


The Secrets of Life: Genes and genetics from evolution to engineering (Channel 4, 2001) £4.95 (inc P&P) Cheque or postal order payable to Channel 4 Television, send to: The Secrets of Life, PO Box 400, Wetherby, LS23 7LG or phone + 44 (0) 8701 246 444
Colour booklet, published to accompany the Channel 4 screening of the Royal Institution 2001 Christmas Lectures. Follows Sir John Sulston's journey from the beginnings of life to the latest developments in biotechnology and into the future. Discusses ethics of cloning.

Human Embryology by William J Larsen (Churchill Livingstone, 2001)
Details the concepts and principles that underlie human development. Each stage is clearly described in a logical, step-by-step fashion, helping readers grasp the complex processes involved.
Buy this book from WHSmith

Human Embryology and Developmental Biology by Bruce M Carlson (Mosby, 1999)
Comprehensive and clearly written textbook, presenting current, accurate, in-depth information about embryological development. Emphasising the molecular basis of development, the focus is on human embryology. Many full-colour clinical photographs and illustrations stress the function of embryological structures and the progression of development.
Buy this book from Amazon

The Developing Human: Clinically oriented embryology by Keith L Moore and P V N Persaud (Saunders, 2003)
Comprehensively covers human embryology, presenting all of the complex clinical and scientific concepts in a practical way, emphasising the clinical aspects throughout by using case studies and clinical correlations.
Buy this book from WHSmith

Entwined Lives: Twins and what they tell us about human behaviour by Nancy L Segal (Plume Books, 2000)
A study of twins, bringing together the latest scientific research and case studies to explore the complexities of human behaviour and development with a very good overview on conjoined twins.
Buy this book from Amazon

Joined at Birth: The lives of conjoined twins by Elaine Landau (Franklin Watts, 1997)
Aimed at 9 to 12-year-olds, this book explores the issues of conjoined twins, including a discussion of the difficult decision regarding physical separation that parents must face.
Buy this book from Amazon

Teach Yourself Genetics by Morton Jenkins (Hodder Arnold, 2003)
An extremely readable introduction to genetics for the layperson, exploring issues such as genetic inheritance, the ethics of genetic engineering, eugenics and the Human Genome Project.
Buy this book from WHSmith

Male, Female: The evolution of human sex differences by David C Geary (APA, 1998)
Reveals how one of our most fundamental goals in life, survival through reproduction, is key to understanding such differences as preferred attributes in mates; level of investment in parenting; the evolution and development of the mind; and even rates of violence, mental disorders, academic abilities and occupational interests and achievement.
Buy this book from Amazon

Y: The descent of men by Steve Jones (Abacus, 2003)
Since Darwin's day, humans have been displaced from their place just below the angels in the grand scheme of life. And now to further our descent, within the human genome, the male Y chromosome has been described as 'the most decayed, redundant and parasitic of the lot'. Furthermore, man himself may become redundant, for his sperm can be grown in animal testes, and in mice at least an egg can be fertilised with a body cell from another female.
Buy this book from WHSmith

Almost Like a Whale: The 'Origin of Species' updated by Steve Jones (Black Swan, 2001)
An exhilarating update of Darwin's Origin of Species for the modern reader, including modern genetics and its implications for evolutionary theory.
Buy this book from Amazon

Nature via Nurture: Genes, experience and what makes us human by Matt Ridley (Fourth Estate, 2003)
Ridley takes on a centuries-old question: is it nature or nurture that makes us who we are? He asserts that the question itself is a 'false dichotomy' and by using copious examples of human and animal behaviour, he presents the notion that our environment affects the way our genes express themselves.
Buy this book from WHSmith

Just following up a mention of the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia:


which is said to have a good selection of medical curiosities:

There is a museum in Philadelphia called the Mütter Museum. I went there once with an old boyfriend. We saw babies in formaldehyde with serious birth defects, two heads, four legs, five noses. Siamese twins. An eight-foot-long colon in a glass case, black, dry, and empty, beside a photograph of its former keeper, a man with a bloated, pregnant stomach. Deformed skulls. The assembled bones of the tallest man in the world, the assembled bones of the shortest man in the world. Model faces made of wax, people with leprosy, noses eaten away, people with real horns growing from their foreheads. Infectious diseases-the results. The dried and preserved veins and heart of a whole man, shellacked and hovering behind a plastic wall. We stayed for two whole hours, until the place closed. At the end we found a set of drawers. Upon opening each little drawer we found something new; there were various buttons, keys, pieces of metal, rocks, hard plastics, coins. My ex-boyfriend asked me what these things were. The sign said, "Things Found Inside of People."


and there is a good page based on a conjoined twin exhibition they had there:


There is actually a book on the Mutter Museum:

Mutter Museum: Of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia
by Gretchen Worden

Book Description
Home to over 20,000 mind-boggling anatomic specimens, plaster casts, wax models, and paintings, the Mutter Museum, founded in 1858, is part of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. This book features over 100 photographs by a select group of renowned photographers whose work appears in the award-winning Mutter Museum calendars. Highlights include a bust of an early-19th-century Parisian widow with a six-inch horn protruding from the forehead; the connected livers of Chang and Eng, the world-famous Siamese twins; the skeleton of a 7’6" giant from Kentucky; and a collection of 139 skulls showing anatomic variation among ethnic groups in central and eastern Europe. Historical photographs from the museum’s archives, brief background texts about the collection, stunning photographs by acclaimed photographers including William Wegman and Joel-Peter Witkinand, and an introductory essay on the museum are also included.


From the frpnt page and carrying on the conjoined/parasitic twins theme as this is actually a rare form of parasitic twin:

Doctors hope to aid baby with extra head

Wed Jan 21,10:10 PM ET

By Jane Sutton

MIAMI (Reuters) - An international team of doctors hopes to operate in the Dominican Republic next month to remove an undeveloped second head from a baby girl born with one of the world's rarest birth defects, caused when a conjoined twin fails to develop in the womb.

The baby, Rebeca Martinez, was born in mid-December at a hospital in Santo Domingo with the head of an undeveloped twin attached to the top of her skull, facing upward.

The infant is otherwise healthy but her brain cannot develop normally unless the undeveloped head is removed, said Dr. Santiago Hazim, medical director at the CURE International Center for Orthopedic Specialties, where the surgery is tentatively set for February 6 or 7.

Her condition, cranio pagus parasiticus, is so rare that there have only been eight documented cases in the world, and no known cases where surgery has been attempted to correct it, Hazim said in a telephone interview.

Conjoined twins form when an embryo begins to split into identical twins and then stops, leaving them fused. Twins conjoined at the head account for about one of every 2.5 million births and about 2 percent of all conjoined births.

Rarer "parasitic" twins occur when one conjoined twin stops developing in the womb, leaving a smaller, incompletely formed twin that is dependent on the other. They can form as an extra limb, torso or head, or as a complete second body, lacking vital organs.

In Rebeca's case, there is a gap in her skull where the heads are joined, and the blood vessels are intertwined, Hazim said. The vestigial head is enlarged and fringed with dark hair like Rebeca's but has a poorly developed brain and only rudimentary facial features, he said.

Rebeca was born weighing about 7 pounds and now weighs over 10 pounds, but the undeveloped head is drawing away nutrients and exerting pressure on Rebeca's brain.

"She was able to go home after a couple of days in the hospital," Hazim said. "She's getting some weight on ... She cries, she wakes up in the morning like a normal child."

Dr. Jorge Lazareff, director of pediatric neurosurgery at UCLA's Mattel Children's Hospital, will lead a team of doctors traveling to Santo Domingo this weekend to examine Rebeca, meet with her parents and decide whether to proceed with the surgery.

"We want to do it, we believe it has to be done ... but the actual decision of going ahead, there is no actual decision," said Lazareff, who led the medical team that successfully separated Guatemalan twin girls joined at the head in 2002.

Two teams, each with nine volunteer doctors, would carry out the operation, working in 12-hour shifts.

Doctors would decide during the surgery whether to try closing Rebeca's skull using bone from the other skull. Otherwise, they would try to close it later using bone from a donor bank or a metal plate, Hazim said.

"It will depend on what we find," he said. "We haven't found one (case) like this in the literature that has been done. I believe this is going to be the first one."

Her parents Maria Gisela Hiciano, 26, and Franklyn Martinez, 28, earn only 0 a month and cannot pay for her medical care.

The doctors are volunteering their services. The hospital where the surgery will take place is operated by CURE International, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Pennsylvania, that provides medical and spiritual care for disabled children in developing nations.


This is very close to this

Dicephalus. Parapagus twins who share a lower body but have separate heads or upper bodies are called dicephalus - literally 'two heads'. Dicephalus twins are very difficult to separate because of the amount of tissue that is shared, and are usually left with severe disabilities. The Tocci brothers, Giovanni and Giacomo (1877-1940) were the most famous of the dicephalus twins and were the inspiration for Mark Twain's story, Those Extraordinary Twins. Abigail and Brittany Hensel (1990- ) are a rare example of dicephalus twins who share a single body with two heads, two necks and two sets of vital organs. Other sets include Ritta and Christina (b. & d. 1829), Carmen and Lupita Andrade Solis (b. 2000), Danny Kaye and Donald Ray Hartley (b. & d. 1953), Katie and Eilish Holton (b. 1993, separated, Katie died) and Ahmad and Mohamad Rosli (b. 1998, separated).


but clearly the second head never properly developed.

Ah nuts - while I was trying to post this (4 or 5 time outs) I ran across a follow up:

Conjoined twins not expected to live

By Andy Gammill
[email protected]
January 21, 2004

Conjoined twins born Tuesday at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis were still in critical condition this morning and aren't expected to survive much longer, one of their doctors said.

The girls' parents, Fort Wayne teen-agers, directed doctors not to provide aggressive care, said Dr. Robert Jansen, a neonatologist who was there for the birth.

Their breathing was labored, and they had difficulty circulating blood but had not been placed on machines to aid them, he said.

"We think their prognosis is poor," Jansen said. "We don't think they'll survive."

The parents, April and Rocky McCray of Fort Wayne, spent time with the girls in the neonatal intensive care unit and later in a private room Tuesday, Jansen said.

The twins, named Stephanie Nicole and Rebecca Marie, were born joined at the torso but have separate heads. Each has a heart, but they share all other organs, Jansen said. That makes it surgically impossible to separate them.

Together they weigh 8 pounds and 5 ounces.

"It's hard being able to hold something as precious as Stephanie and Rebecca, and to know their time might be short," said John Boyanowski, the girls' maternal grandfather.

Marsha Boyanowski said her daughter was excited to see the babies.

"All she could say was, 'Aren't they beautiful?' "

The parents did not attend a news briefing on the girls' birth.

"It's already more than we hoped for," Marsha Boyanowski said.

Between one in every 50,000 and 80,000 pregnancies results in the rare birth defect of twins whose bodies are fused together. Three sets were born in Indiana in 2002, the only year for which statistics were available.

The way in which the McCray twins were conjoined is even more rare, happening in about one in 500,000 pregnancies, Jansen said.

Most conjoined twins don't survive childbirth, and those who do don't often live much longer.

The McCrays were spared the difficult question of whether to separate the twins, a question that medical workers and ethicists wrestle with. When they are separated, one often dies so the other one can live.

In 1993, a Jasper County couple, Reitha and Ken Lakeberg, chose to separate their twin daughters, Angela and Amy. Some hospital staff members at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill., said they would not participate in an operation that killed one child.

Eventually, a Philadelphia hospital agreed to the surgery, during which Amy died. Angela died within a year.

In July, two of Iranian women died while surgeons tried to separate them.

A follow up on the story above the one above this oen (if that makes any sense):

Baby Born With 2nd Head to Get Surgery

Wed Feb 4, 7:29 PM

By PETER PRENGAMAN, Associated Press Writer

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic - A Dominican infant born with a second head will undergo a risky operation Friday to remove the appendage, which has a partially formed brain, ears, eyes and lips.

The surgery is complicated because the two heads share arteries.

Led by a Los Angles-based neurosurgeon who successfully separated Guatemalan twins, the medical team will spend about 13 hours removing Rebeca Martinez's second head.

The 18 surgeons, nurses and doctors will cut off the undeveloped tissue, clip the veins and arteries and close the skull of the 7-week-old baby using a bone graft from another part of her body.

"We know this is a delicate operation," Rebeca's father, Franklyn Martinez, 28, told The Associated Press. "But we have a positive attitude."

CURE International, a Lemoyne, Pa.-based charity that gives medical care to disabled children in developing countries, is paying for the surgery and follow-up care.

Dr. Jorge Lazareff, director of pediatric neurosurgery at the University of California at Los Angeles' Mattel Children's Hospital, will lead the operation along with Dr. Benjamin Rivera, a neurosurgeon at the Medical Center of Santo Domingo. Lazareff led a team that successfully separated Guatemalan twin girls in 2002.

Doctors say if the surgery goes well Rebeca won't need physical therapy and will develop as a normal child.

Rebeca was born on Dec. 17 with the undeveloped head of her twin, a condition known as craniopagus parasiticus.

Twins born conjoined at the head are extremely rare, accounting for one of every 2.5 million births. Parasitic twins like Rebeca are even rarer.

Rebeca is the eighth documented case in the world of craniopagus parasiticus, said Dr. Santiago Hazim, medical director at CURE International's Center for Orthopedic Specialties in Santo Domingo, where the surgery will be performed.

All the other documented infants died before birth, making it the first known surgery of its kind, Lazareff and Hazim said.

Hazim said the surgery must be done now so the pressure of Rebeca's other brain doesn't prevent her from developing.

Rebeca shares blood vessels and arteries with her second head. Although only partially developed, the mouth on her second head moves when Rebeca is being breast-fed. Tests indicate some activity in her second brain.

Martinez and his 26-year-old wife, Maria Gisela Hiciano, say doctors told them before Rebeca was born that she would have a tumor on her head, but none of the prenatal tests showed a second head developing.

Martinez works at a tailor's shop. Hiciano is a supermarket cashier. Together they make about 0 a month. They have two other children, ages 4 and 1.

Lazareff says Rebeca's chances of survival are good. Still, he refuses to make a prognosis.

"We'll do everything we can to make this successful," he said.


On the Net:

Cure International: http://www.ccure.org/index.aspx


[edit: URL is braking again - try copying and pasting this version:

http://www.comcast.net/News/HEALTHWELLN ... cce7a.html

we'll see how that goes]
Interesting that they refer to it principally as 'her second head/brain', I guess it's rather more paletable to talk about removing a second head than decapitating a parasitic twin...
BRF: Thats what I was thinking but this Yahoo article has a slideshow with a better set of pictures than I've seen before:


and it is clear I was wrong about the baby being dicephalus (see attached picture for the most informative picture) - its not one body with two heads it is a baby with another head on top of its own. Its not really like Edward Mordrake (which is said to have had a face on the back of his head) but certainl sound similar to Pasqual Pinon (who had a second head which was said to be capable of movement but not speech). The page I usually refer to in thiese matters is down at the moment (it looks like they use up mor ebandwidth than their host will allow):


but I'll see what I can dig out.

Pasqual Pinon

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh got it - I found the relvant page in the google cache:

According to the talker's pitch at the Sells-Floto Sideshow in 1917, Pasqual Pinon was a Mexican refugee who followed General Pershing out of the country when Pancho Villa's raiders forced his family off their farm. Pasqual's upper head could, the talker said, could see, talk and hear, until the age of twenty, when it unexpectedly atrophied.

However, anyone who studies teratology can see that Pasqual Pinon was a fake. A craniopagus parasite like this, would be upside-down against the host's head, like in the Two-Headed Boy of Bengal. A theory concerning Mr. Pinon is that he had a large tumor growing from his forehead, and the extra face was a make-up trick, much like Bill Durks' third eye, but more likely, he was outfitted with a well-made fake head. Nevertheless, Pinon, who was really a poor laborer from Texas who had been recruited by the sideshow, travelled successfully for three years, at which point he fell ill and retired.


I've attached a picture and to be honest that is an awfully big 'growth' and the face looks pretty fake - I wonder if the whole thing is fake. This site (with a nice drawing of the man):


suggests it is a wax replica of his won face fitted into a wen on his skull.

That's the scariest thing I've ever seen. Poor little mite. I do hope she pulls through. :(
She has such a pretty little face too, hope she'll be OK.

Surgery successful, says inital reports

Surgical team removes one of Dominican baby's two heads
The Associated Press

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic — A team of surgeons successfully removed the second head of a Dominican baby Friday in a complex operation doctors believe to be the first of its kind.

The medical team led by a Los Angeles-based neurosurgeon completed the operation on seven-week-old Rebeca Martinez in nearly 11 hours, saying it went smoothly.

"The girl is doing great. The surgery is over and her head has been closed," said Dr. Santiago Hazim, medical director of Santo Domingo's Centre for Orthopedic Specialties, where the surgery was performed.

The second head, a partially formed twin doctors said threatened the girl's development, had its own partly developed brain, ears, eyes and lips.

Eighteen surgeons, nurses and doctors took several rotations to cut off the undeveloped tissue, clip the veins and arteries and close the skull using a bone graft from another part of Rebeca's body.

The surgery was complicated because the two heads shared arteries. Although only partially developed, the mouth on her second head moved when Rebeca was being breast-fed.

Before the operation began, the girl's parents followed her to the door of the operating room and said a prayer over their baby, holding hands and gently caressing their daughter's head.

"Be strong, Rebeca. May God be with you," 26-year-old Maria Gisela Hiciano, said as she reached for her baby through the bars of the crib.

The operation was critical because the head on top was growing faster than the lower one, said Dr. Jorge Lazareff, the lead brain surgeon and director of pediatric neurosurgery at the University of California at Los Angeles' Mattel Children's Hospital.

Without an operation, he said, "the child would barely be able to lift her head at three months old."

Dr. Lazareff said the pressure from the second head, attached on top of the first and facing up, would prevent Rebeca's brain from developing.

From the Globe and Mail, Canada

Sure there'll be more on this in the next day or so.
"parasitic twin" baby dies in op


Two-headed baby dies after op

The seven-week old baby who underwent a landmark operation to remove a live second head has died, her mother says.
Surgeons in the Dominican Republic had earlier said Rebeca Martinez was doing well after the 11-hour operation by a team of 18 people.

Baby Rebeca was born with the head of an undeveloped conjoined twin fused to the top of her skull.

She was thought to be the first baby with that particular condition to survive beyond birth.

In the delicate operation, surgeons had to cut off undeveloped tissue, clip the veins and arteries and close Rebeca's skull using a bone graft from another part of her body.

The procedure was carried out in the Dominican Republic capital, Santo Domingo, by a team of 18 led by Jorge Lazareff, who successfully separated Guatemalan conjoined twins in 2002.

The costs of the surgery estimated at $100,000, are being met by the charity Cure International.

'Parasitic twins'

A spokesman for the charity said that as the surgeons came out of the operating theatre they had all unanimously said the operation was a "great success".

Rebeca was only the eight documented case in the world of a condition known as parasitic twins. The other seven all died before birth.

Her second head had a partially-developed brain, ears, eyes and lips, and if it had continued to grow it would have prevented Rebeca's brain from developing.

The features on the second head reportedly moved when Rebeca was being fed.

Dr Lazareff, the director of Paediatric Neurosurgery at UCLA's Mattel Children's Hospital, said the head on top had been growing faster than the lower one.

He said if Rebeca had not undergone surgery then, she would have been unable to lift her head at three months' old.
Ah that is sad, I have been following this story and I had been hoping the girl would survive.

It all sounds very nightmarish though, little too much detail in the closing paragraphs there!
I'm a bit confused.....

The version of the story I had was that the little girl survived. Did she die later?

If they were referring to the parasitic twin as the one who died, then that was fully expected, as she was naught but a bit of a head on top of her sister's head.

I think I must have missed something...

Trace [Damn Fox!] Mann
damn damn damn!

Nope, FOX had it too....

Infant Dies After Surgery to Remove Second Head
Saturday, February 07, 2004

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — An infant girl died Saturday after surgery to remove a second head, her mother said.
A medical team completed the operation Friday evening but said 8-week-old Rebeca Martinez (search) had been susceptible to infection or hemorrhaging. The baby died 12 hours after the surgery, believed to be the first of its kind.
"She was too little to resist the surgery," the mother, 26-year-old Maria Gisela Hiciano (search), said by telephone from her home, sobbing softly.
Hiciano said doctors told her Rebeca died around 6 a.m.
The second head, which doctors said threatened the girl's development, grew from the top of Rebeca's skull and had its own partly developed brain, ears, eyes and lips.
During the surgery, 18 surgeons, nurses and doctors had taken several rotations to cut off the undeveloped tissue, clip the veins and arteries, and close the skull using a bone and skin graft from the second head.
Doctors had warned her parents that Rebeca confronted "the second big risk, the post-operation recovery," according to Dr. Santiago Hazim (search), medical director of Santo Domingo's Center for Orthopedic Specialties, where the surgery was performed.
The operation was critical because the head on top was growing faster than the lower one, said Dr. Jorge Lazareff, the lead brain surgeon and director of pediatric neurosurgery at the University of California at Los Angeles' Mattel Children's Hospital.
Lazareff led a team that successfully separated conjoined Guatemalan twin girls in 2002.
Hiciano and her husband, 29-year-old Franklin Martinez, have two other children, ages 4 and 1.
Thats sad :(
I heard on the news earlier that the baby was doing well, but evidently the poor thing wasn't out of the woods.

If the head was concious then I beleve that that is the only officaly recorded medical case of its kind (there was a preformer who toured america in a sideshow (as I beleive the PC term is) in the latter part of the 19th and early 20th century that claimed to have a concious coinjoined twins head atop his own. The man in question never took a medical examination. Sceptics and medical experts at the time said that it was most likely a puppet the man had afixed to the top of his head and, after I saw a photograph of the preformer, I'm inclined to agree.
(I'll see if I can find the photo of the 19th century proformer on the net to post here)
Min Bannister said:

Thats the one... (I don't know why I didn't think of looking on ft's website rather than rooting though lots of websites on barnam et al and then rooting though my book coletion in desperation and finaly finding it in the second xfiles book of the unexplained then scanning it then going to post and... ah...)
and after the first reports went so well... poor wee thing....